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Hallowe’en

We are a family without children, but normally our nephew & niece, their friends, our godson and his siblings knock on our door for trick or treating. I’m a bit ambivalent about the commercialised Hallowe’en. When I was a small kid it wasn’t a thing – we had Bonfire Night (or ‘Guy Fawkes’ as Mum used to call it.) on November 5th, which was all about (for us) the community bonfire with the Guy on top, fireworks and sparklers.

I first encountered Hallowe’en as we know it now when we went to live in Dublin when I was 8. My Mum was terribly embarrassed when all these groups of dressed up children knocked on our door and she didn’t know what was supposed to happen… In the end she didn’t answer it anymore. But the next year she was prepared with a huge bowl of what we knew as monkey nuts, but which I think are peanuts in their shells. (I’m allergic to nuts, I have no idea!) And that was what was given out to Trick or Treaters, nuts and some very small sweets, a few mini chocolate bars. I think I went out once or twice but as I pretty much couldn’t eat what I collected I wasn’t really interested. Some families had fireworks but I don’t remember it being a thing.

And of course the Irish don’t celebrate Bonfire Night as it is effectively a celebration of the foiling of a plot to blow up Parliament and the King. There’s a really nice simple resource on the Parliament website about the Gunpowder Plot and a really great book on the subject is Antonia Fraser’s The Gunpowder Plot, Terror and Faith in 1605.

I hope children in schools are learning about that and the historical background of All Hallow’s Eve. And to put the apostrophe in Hallowe’en! Oooh I’m sounding curmudgeonly. Lovely American friends, I’m probably never going to wish you Happy Hallowe’en….

So tonight I have candles in the window, these in a tin

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Mollie is wearing her Thundershirt (an anti anxiety coat that apparently makes animals feel safer, like they’re having a hug) just in case there are fireworks and I’m doing easy knitting…

9 thoughts on “Hallowe’en

    • Yes my sister told me about that. I had a poster on my door til 8pm saying ‘do your spookiest knock on the window’ so I was clearly considered fair game. She said when I took it down people wouldn’t knock… But the bell went at 8.30 and again at 9,50!!! They were teenagers & although I gave them a chocolate each I was a bit annoyed. Think they might have been my neighbours daughter & friends but there were a lot – 12 or so of them – not a good plan!

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  1. I love learning about how other people celebrate holidays! When we were kids, we lived in a subdivision of tiny houses with families with lots of kids. Hallowe’en (that ‘ is for you, Claire!) was all about dressing up and going door to door. I remember there was an “old” couple who did not give out candy – they had cake and Kool Aid. to get some, you had to go in, sit down and chat. I hated it, but my dad always made us go there. (He went around with us while Mom stayed home giving out candy.

    We would fill a pillow case each with candy. When we got home, we would sort it all out, and mom would give out the ones we didn’t like.

    Nowadays we live in the woods, and we do buy candy and leave the lights on just in case, but we haven;t had a kid come calling in years. times are different, kids can’t trust their neighbors any more. Sad thing.

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    • Haha thanks for the apostrophe! I’m a bit of a pedant in that respect. I think what we do now has been adopted from practices in the US – sounds like you had fun as a kid – a whole pillowcase full!! My nephew and niece both had a small bucket each that was full up when my sister drove them round to get sweets from their aunt. (I spoil them!) My sister was also dressed up and made an extremely glamorous witch – she was head to toe in black with a black chiffon cape round her shoulders (it was an old dance skirt!) and this really pretty red satin witches hat with a veil. Apparently some of the Dads she met when out with friends were very friendly and she couldn’t figure out why they were to her and not the others until I pointed out that she looked great – the cape was seriously flattering and the veil hid her face so you couldn’t tell her age!! She laughed like a drain and said she should have given them a Hallowe’en fright by taking her hat off.
      I imagine at yours it isn’t that parents don’t trust the neighbours but it’s so far for kids to walk that they take them in to an event in town or they visit friends – that’s what happens here.
      Anyway, time to sleep! Chat soon.

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      • lol – we haven’t gotten kids either here or our old house in several years. Not sure why, we give out good candy!

        Love the tale of your sister in her costume.

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  2. Halloween and going door to door is an ancient ritual. Mummers (particularly in Ireland, Scotland and Wales) would go around putting on plays to get food, which is where the tradition of trick and treating comes from (it was taken across to America).

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    • It’s a fascinating tradition. I guess I never came across it as a child as my parents both grew up in London and they never did trick or treating. Anyhow I don’t think I’m going to get over to your shop today as I’m having my nephew for a couple of hours and I really don’t think a 12 year old would appreciate a wool shop!! I may save up my visit for early December when I could do a little Christmas shopping in BoA. 🙂

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      • We never did it either where I grew up in Kent. I did a lot of research in to it when I was in my late teens as I was rather Goth, and wanted to be able to tell people about the traditions 😀 have a lovely time with your nephew and hope to meet you soon!

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  3. Pingback: At the request of a friend | Willow's Corner

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